There have been quite a few studies done on Panax ginseng’s effect on testosterone levels. While the results have been mostly inconclusive, there is compelling evidence that Panax ginseng has the ability to help men achieve normal testosterone levels if their baseline levels are below average.
Study 1: Effect of Panax ginseng on testosterone level and prostate in male rats In this study, researchers fed adult male rats a diet containing either 1% or 5% Panax ginseng for 60 days. A group of control rats who received no ginseng were also included in the study.
In addition to the rise in testosterone levels, the rats who consumed the most ginseng also experienced reduced prostate weight compared to the control group and the 1% ginseng group.
Study 2: Effects of ginseng ingestion on growth hormone, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin-like growth factor 1 responses to acute resistance exercise In this study out of Kyungpook National University, eight male college students were randomly selected to receive either water, or 20g of a ginseng root extract supplement.
Radioimmunoassay was used to measure testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and cortisol levels. The results showed that there was no significant difference in plasma hormone levels between the control group and the ginseng group.
These results indicate that the raise in testosterone levels seen in the first study might be attributable to the test rats’ increased food consumption.
While Panax ginseng’s ability to raise testosterone levels in healthy men is suspect, there is compelling evidence that ginseng has a positive effect on testosterone levels in men with impaired testicular function.
Study 3: Effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer saponins on male fertility In an Italian study carried out at University of Rome La Sapienza, 66 male patients were treated with a Panax ginseng extract. Of these 66 patients, 46 suffered from oligoasthenospermia (infertility), and 20 served as the control group.
While the exact mechanism of action remains unclear, the researchers concluded their report by suggesting that Ginsenosides may have an effect on the male hypothalamus-pituitary-testis system.
Study 4: Study of the efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction In another study, 60 male patients with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction failed to show a statistically significant improvement from baseline testosterone levels after eight weeks of Panax ginseng supplementation at 3 grams daily.
However, of the seven men studied who had baseline testosterone levels below 3ng/mL, four had normalized their testosterone levels by the end of the study. Although the variability of these samples made the results statistically insignificant, this study seems to confirm that Panax ginseng can be beneficial in helping men achieve healthy testosterone levels.
Study 5: Red ginseng and 20(S)-Rg3 control testosterone-induced prostate hyperplasia by deregulating androgen receptor signaling. While Panax ginseng’s ability to elevate testosterone levels requires further research, a 2012 study demonstrated ginseng’s ability to counter the effects of testosterone on prostate growth. Researchers investigated the Ginsenoside Rg(3)’s potential to inhibit the enzyme 5-AR.
Conclusion While it remains doubtful that Panax ginseng can elevate the testosterone levels of healthy men, those suffering from impaired testicular function and other testosterone related conditions seem to derive benefit from ginseng supplementation.
What the Doctor Recommends
Testosterone is the male sex hormone produced in the testicles. Many things can cause low T levels including infection or injury of the testicles, tumors, deseases of the pituary gland, high colesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, conditions of the immune system (HIV, AIDS), certain medications and ageing.
In some of the above cases changing your lifestyle should do the trick: balanced diet, weight loss, stress management, sufficient amount of sleep, supplements where needed.
In certain cases your doctor might recommend to go under a testosterone therapy. There are many ways to get the extra does of the hormone: injecions in the muscle, patches, gel, tablets and implants.
The length of the therapy depends on what causes the problem and the symptoms you experience. When you experience gradual muscle growth, higher libido, deepening of the voice and hair growth, you can trust you're on the path of recovery.